Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Tuesday, December 1, 2020
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IT Job Seekers: Open Source Jobs Need You, Especially in DevOps 

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, companies around the world are continuing to seek IT workers with proven skills in open source software to fill job vacancies that consistently remain open due to a lack of qualified candidates.

That’s the conclusion of the 2020 Open Source Jobs Report from The Linux Foundation and learning platform vendor edX, which surveyed 175 hiring managers and more than 900 open source professionals to examine the demand and prospects for open source skills in the marketplace.

“Ninety-three percent of hiring managers are still having trouble finding open source talent,” Clyde Seepersad, the director of training and certification for The Linux Foundation, told EnterpriseAI. “Cloud is super-hot.”

The problem, said Seepersad, is that many job candidates continue to lack the specific open source skills that companies are desperately seeking.

The 18-page report is the latest update since the organization’s 2018 open source jobs report, when 87% of hiring managers said they were having a difficult time finding qualified open source talent for their companies. Some 37% of the hiring managers say they will hire more skilled IT professionals in the next six months.

DevOps Skills in Greater Demand

One area where skilled open source job candidates are needed in particular is in DevOps, where 65% of the companies surveyed said they are looking to hire more DevOps talent. DevOps was the most-sought-after job role mentioned in the study, surpassing software developers for the first time among respondents, according to The Linux Foundation. Software developers with open source skills are being sought by 59% of the respondents.

Also notable is that 52% of hiring managers are more likely to hire candidates with open source certifications, which is up from 47% two years ago.

Clyde Seepersad of The Linux Foundation

Some 70% of the hiring managers said they are more likely to hire an IT pro today who has open source cloud skills in particular, which is up from 66% in 2018.

“We're seeing signs that the long-rumored prominence of DevOps is really starting to happen among people who are getting serious about hiring DevOps talent and implementing DevOps philosophy and culture in their organizations,” said Seepersad. “What we're seeing is that IT has been resilient and open source in particular [during the COVID-19 pandemic].”

Interestingly, the report also says that 80% of the surveyed employers now provide online training courses for employees to learn open-source software skills, allowing them to boost the skills of existing workers to help solve their job vacancy issues. That’s an increase from 66% two years ago, according to the report.

“More and more companies are realizing that acting on that upskilling is an important part of recruiting,” said Seepersad. “You don't have to just bring in external candidates. There's a viable path to growing skills in an organization to fill the evolving gaps. I suspect that's going to become one of the big changes we’ll continue to see.”

Also important, he said, is that an increasing number of companies are looking at hiring remote workers around the globe, especially due to the pandemic, which can allow them to find qualified talent more flexibly.

More Companies Supporting Open Source Projects to Lure Talent

Some 63% of the business respondents said their organizations have begun to support open source projects with code or other resources just so they can more easily recruit IT workers with those software skills, the study reported. That’s an increase from the 48% who did this in 2018. About 74% of the employers surveyed said they are also now paying for employee open source certifications to encourage workers to bolster their skills. That’s up from 55% in 2018, 47% in 2017, and 34% in 2016.

For companies specializing in AI, machine learning and related technologies, finding talent with open source skills continues to grow in importance, said Seepersad.

“Everything that's running in the cloud is running on Linux, including 99% of Amazon EC2, and the majority of Azure instances,” he said. “So, whether you knew it or not, everybody's an open source technologist now."

And in AI in particular, hundreds of different open source tool sets and frameworks have bloomed and are available for use, he said. “We're all Linux admins now, because if you lift the covers it’s what's underneath the cloud and everything. And we're all Kubernetes people now because that's how everybody orchestrates and instruments the cloud. And open source tools are what are powering the DevOps revolution, so whether that's Puppet or Chef or Jenkins or Spinnaker, there's a plethora of tools out there that are the new normal for how code gets developed and deployed.”

The group’s 2020 Open Source Jobs Report was conducted for the first time with the help of edX, an education and learning platform that was founded by Harvard and MIT.

The report includes data from more than 175 hiring managers at corporations, small and medium businesses (SMBs), government organizations, and staffing agencies across the globe, as well as responses from more than 900 open source professionals worldwide. Thirty-nine percent of the companies are based in North America, while 24% are based in Europe. Another 15% are in Asia, 7% are in Africa, 4% are in Mexico and Central America, 4% are in South America, 2% are in the Middle East and less than 1% each are in other regions. The respondents must have hired at least one open source professional in the last year or plan to hire open source professionals in 2020 to participate in the survey. Seventy-four percent of the 900 open source professionals who responded worked in those jobs for three years or more.

 

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